Sunday, August 03, 2008
Ghostgirl, by Tonya Hurley
The problem with dying to be popular is that if you want it too much, you may in fact really die. Or, at least, that is the premise of this wickedly funny satire of teen angst. After a fatal choking incident involved a gummy bear, Charlotte goes from being invisible at her school to being dead. This actually changes things for the better as people start to see her and she may yet win a chance to snag the boy of her dreams and go to the Fall Dance with him. But first, she must pass Dead Ed, convince the school's goth girl to switch bodies with her, and deal with the horrid Prue (who is to the Afterlife what snotty cheerleader Petula is to the high school). After all, it's a matter of life or.... (well, you get the idea!).
An extraordinarily clever story that finds the meeting point between self-absorbed adolescent melodrama, gothic romance, and horror -- a surprisingly compatible mixture -- and stirs in some pee-in-your-pants one-liners and cultural references from at least three decades of YA/horror/high school. My personal favorite was the Dead Ed movie (a direct reference to the sex-ed movies of the early 80s that I was subjected to) - yes, your body is indeed changing! OMG! The first 100 pages of this quick read had me dying from laughter.
That said, the cleverness is marred a bit by a plot that veers off into weirdo land in the next 100 pages and never really comes back up for air. Hurley never loses her satirical edge (although some of the puns get tired), but the story could have used some rethinking. That is a terrible shame since the boom is otherwise an enjoyable romp!
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